Some of my favourite songs and artists were discovered by accident. Whether a song was heard while passing by a store or used in a movie, some songs instantly find a way to connect to you. All it takes is a simple beat, a line or a snippet of the melody and you find yourself in a determined mindset, bent on discovering what you have just heard. You may find some success in using a line or two while searching online, but other than that, you'll have to ask around. Then again, you might be too shy or embarrassed to start a beat way off key, almost cracking glass, to ask someone:
"What's the name of the song that goes ba da da dum dee da…?"
Some carriers, like Rogers Wireless, used to offer a service where they would find the artist/song in question for you and send it to you via SMS. For Rogers, the service was called #DJ. To be honest, I used the service only once…maybe twice. To find true musical discoveries, you only need to utter the one word that a handful of characters like Gomer Pyle and Billy Batson have wielded - Shazam. There's no magic lighting required though it would be pretty cool. The only magic present is what information you may uncover.
Shazam Entertainment, the company behind the Shazam mobile application, began shedding light on musical enigmas in 2002. No more nearly hopeless searching, no more waiting for a chance to hear the song again. Today, over 50 million music lovers are reveling in songs that were found using Shazam. Way back in April, we told BlackBerry users and abusers of its availability, though be it in beta. Now, after having a chance to dance to the music, I break out into song, as I bring you this review. According to BlackBerry App World, the Shazam mobile application is available for the following series, 81xx, 83xx, 85xx, 88xx, Curve 8900, Bold (and Bold 9700), Storm (and Storm 2) and Tour. Currently in version 2.1, Shazam for BlackBerry will require 491 KB of space.
Before you can begin to use Shazam, the application will test out your connectivity. You can also check your connection status at any time, by accessing the settings menu. The applications works over both Wi-Fi and your carrier's network. When Shazam successfully matches the audio sample, you have then "tagged" the song. To begin searching for information on the song you are currently listening to, click on the "Tag Now" button found at the main menu. The preceding screen displays the Shazam logo with animation. Here you can see the status of your search. If successful, it will change from Listening to Sending and then to Matching. I had Shazam set to vibrate when a match was found. Shazam has access to over 8 million tracks, so the chances of it finding your song are pretty good.
Once found, Shazam will display the song title and the artist. You will also see the associated album cover and the date it was tagged. Depending on available information, other shown details may include; genre, name of the album and the name of the label.
At the very bottom of this screen, you will see up to five icons. Again, this is based on the track and availability of information. If you're not using a Storm, the application allows you to either scroll and select by using your trackball/trackpad or your keypad. Numbers 1 through 5 are assigned to each icon.
Buy - this button redirects you to Thumbplay, where you can purchase/download the associated ringtone. Please check out www.thumbplay.com for information on rates, terms and conditions.
More Info - So now you know what song you just fell in love with. Do you want to know more about the song or artist? Here you can do some research, before you decide to download more songs from the artist. Once again, availability of information may vary. Each selection redirects you to Shazam's mobile site. Typically, you can check out track or album reviews, artist biography and discography. For the Tags I have so far, I haven't been able to see the option to view song lyrics yet.
Recommendations - "If you like this, you'll love this." Shazam will display 5 tracks from different artists that may peak your interest. By selecting one, you are given the same information and options as you saw with your original tag. This means same 5 icons and same details.
Share Tag - Though some may not want to share their latest find. They may prefer keeping relatively unknown artists to themselves. That being said, Shazam does allow you to share your tags in an email, SMS or PIN. The message will read- "I used Shazam to discover *song title* by *artist*". A link to the track found on Shazam's site will then be displayed.
Delete - What can I say about this option? Um, you can delete the current tag, just in case you couldn't figure it out. Please note that deletions cannot be undone.
The Shazam mobile application has a My Tags section that will display your tags in the order in which they were tagged. There is also a Tag Chart, where you can see songs other users have tagged. This is another great way to discover new (or new to you) music. You can also search by artist, album or title.
If I can quote Gomer Pyle one more time - "Gaaw-aawl-ly".
The mobile application was extremely easy to navigate through and I found the response time to a tag request very quick. The sharing feature is limited, as other smartphones are able to share via Facebook or Twitter with their mobile app. Perhaps in the future, we will see this as well. All of these options can be found in the premium version of Shazam, which also includes unlimited tags. The free version allows you to make up to 5 tags per month, view your tag list, share tags and purchase/download. If after Shazam's 7 day free trial you decide to purchase the mobile app, it only costs $5.00 USD. If you decide to try, but not buy, you will then be reverted back to the free version. You can find the Shazam mobile app at BlackBerry App World.